I've noticed a dramatic difference in Christopher's behaviors since he started his gluten-free, dye-free, low-sugar diet. This diet is hard to keep up--boy does my kid miss sugary, junky treats but it is so worth it.
I took Christopher to a play date at a local park on Saturday and my friend commented to me that this was the farthest away from him we've ever had the opportunity to sit. Usually I would have to hover right next to him, calling out, "don't hit. Don't push. Move back". Boy is that exhausting.
But on Saturday, Christopher made friends with another little boy and played very nicely with him. So my friend and I could talk to each other and catch up, which is rare. Well that is until some other kids came along and they wanted to play with Christopher's Disney Cars and so we had some sharing issues happening. But that's age-appropriate and Christopher's an only child so that's understandable. I can deal with that. Christopher really does need to learn to share. But I digress....
Anyway, I've done a little research and there are tons of stories that link ADHD to gluten sensitivity, artificial dyes and even casein (from dairy). The scary thing I'm reading is that some kids metabolize gluten like an opiate (i.e. morphine and heroin) and that's why you get the crazy, out of control behavior.
I also read an article on Forbes.com that said artificial dyes that have been proven to cause Cancer in the '70s have been banned. However yellow dye #5 which is still considered "safe" and found in all our foods has been linked to hyperactivity, anxiety, migraines and even Cancer. Yes, this is in the food you are eating!
How is it possible that we have kids acting like they're on heroin and there isn't more of an uproar? Why didn't Christopher's pediatrician suggest I remove gluten and dyes from his diet when I told him my kid was ADHD symptomatic? It's not like there's a huge gluten lobby, funneling money to Congress to ensure that gluten manufacturers continue to rake in the dough (pun intended). You'd think that the doc would suggest that right off the bat. But he didn't. As a matter of fact, when I said this is what we'd be doing he was very "meh" about it. He said it works for some kids and doesn't for others and not to expect too dramatic a turnaround in behaviors. Crazy that he doesn't know what I now know: diet can really affect a child's behaviors.
We live in the Boston area, which is known to be one of the most medically advanced cities in the country so you would think that we would be on the forefront of this type of research. However if that's the case, I'm not hearing of it. Why isn't' this happening? Everything I'm reading suggests that this is a huge problem that is only getting worse. Shouldn't we be addressing diet more aggressively?
By the way, Christopher is the only kid I know who doesn't like cheese so we don't have to worry about casein thankfully. Whew on that one.
If you're interested in seeing any research on the topic, feel free to click a few links I found in my search: